SMART 2020 website tracks ICT industry's progress in tackling climate change

14 December 2009

London.   The Climate Group, BT and the Digital Energy Solutions Campaign (DESC) today launched 'SMART 2020: Pathways to scale' a website that will track progress made by the information and communications technology (ICT) industry in tackling climate change.

Case studies already hosted on show that progress has been made but there is much more to be done, highlights winning strategies, and makes some key recommendations that the industry should work towards.

The opportunity for the global ICT industry to reduce global emissions by 15% in 2020, saving global businesses over 500 billion, was outlined in The Climate Group's 2008 report, SMART 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age. 

The SMART 2020: Pathways to Scale case studies reveal both winning strategies and gaps where action by the industry required:

  • Partnerships: When companies with different skills sets or assets work together to find a holistic energy efficiency solution the results are much more impressive than the sum of individual parts.
  • Cross-sector implementation: Most existing products still only play to one or two market segments (e.g. buildings or logistics).  Different energy efficiency products have largely not been integrated to provide an end-to-end solution.
  • Optimization, not only behavior change. Large scale behavior change on the part of the consumer is required but is not happening at present.  We need to look at ways of optimizing the energy savings and linking these to real cost savings to create the financial incentives for the consumer.
  • Policies beyond a carbon price. Policy barriers have arisen in unexpected places, for example anti-competitiveness laws have in some cases prevented companies working together.  A carbon price alone will not be sufficient to drive the green revolution.

"Pathways to Scale shows that we still have some way to go to achieving the SMART 2020 goal.  But the lessons learnt are very useful," said Molly Webb, Director of Strategic Engagement, The Climate Group.

Recommendations coming out of the Pathways to Scale analysis say that what is needed to scale up 'smart' solutions are:

  • Real-time energy information for all from consumers, to businesses to national governments this is the only way to ensure we measure and manage what we use.
  • Policies to encourage 40% energy efficiency across sectors (appliances, buildings, transport) - we know this is achievable but need the policy incentives to encourage action.
  • Pilots with a focus on the urban level to test the application of new technologies, as well as the new policies and financial models required for scale up.
  • A smart grid (from power generation to appliance) with standards that allow anything and everything to become part of it

"User-generated content drove Web 2.0, and user-generated energy information and 'the internet of things is our future. With a strong global agreement to tackle climate change, ICT infrastructure will be a key enabler in the short term of carbon efficiency on a global scale," added Webb.

Chris Tuppen, Chief Sustainability Officer at BT, said, "The SMART 2020 report showed that ICT could play a very significant role in helping tackle climate change. This latest research highlights the need to link a number of ICT solutions to deliver the level of transformational change needed to establish the low carbon economy. This will mostly happen through innovative public/private partnerships."

Stephen Harper, Global Director of Environment and Energy Policy at Intel Corporation and Co-Chairman of DESC, said,  "ICT has a significant role to play in improving the energy efficiency and reducing the climate footprint of virtually every sector of the global economy.  The Pathways project takes this work another step by documenting some of the specific ICT projects and applications that are being implemented to make this potential a reality."

To read an extended version of this press release, click here.

For Smart 2020 report, case studies and further information:

Specifically for further analysis of the Smart 2020: Pathways to Scale case studies:

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